Monday, July 6, 2009

Classic Cookout with Palm Leaf Plates

Have you seen the Marx Foods website before? It's an amazing collection of exotic and hard to find meats and gourmet foods. They even have a blog, which I enjoy reading for culinary inspiration! A few weeks ago I saw an offer on their website that I had to respond to-- they were looking for bloggers to test out their eco-friendly palm leaf plates. I said I would love to review them, and a few days later the plates arrived.

Dig in!

I consider myself a pretty green person, and I try to avoid disposable plates, silverware, and napkins whenever possible. Having a smaller city condo helps, because we rarely have more dinner guests than we have plates! We use cloth napkins instead of paper, and I only use paper towels on extra-dirty messes. The palm leaf plates are a dream-- they are made from palm leafs that naturally fall off the trees, and it's a renewable process. The plates are biodegradable, so you can feel totally guilt-free when you pull out a stack for your next get together! I also thought they had a kind of eco-chic look, and I could picture them as part of a stylish outdoor spread. They are more expensive than typical paper plates, but if they fit in your budget I would totally recommend these plates. You can find them at this link: And check out the whole Marx Foods site while you're at it-- there is a lot of cool stuff to buy and send to me :)

I wanted to test the plates with some heavy-duty food, so I figured American Cookout food would fit the bill. I made BBQ sauce from this recipe on Pithy and Clever, and used it for BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches. The sauce was a good first attempt, but I would like to try other recipes. I also made fantastic baked beans, which are one of my favorite foods of all time. I was ashamed to say I had never made baked beans from scratch before this night, but I think this recipe was darn close to perfect. It didn't take much time, and the flavor was spot on. I recommended them to my mom for the 4th of July, and she reported back with rave reviews. I also made a German Potato salad from Emeril on Food Network, and my friends liked it so much that I made the same recipe three days later for a 4th of July cookout. This whole menu was one I will gladly repeat again and again.

German Potato Salad
From Emeril Lagasse on

2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and medium diced
6 oz raw bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ to 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup whole grain mustard
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
¼ cup chopped green onions

In a saucepan, over medium heat, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and drain well. Keep warm. In a saute pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Add the onions. Season with black pepper. Saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked potatoes, crispy bacon/onions with fat, vinegar, to taste, mustard, eggs, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Using the back of a spoon, mash the mixture together. The salad should be well blended but with some lumps.

Baked Beans
From Dave Lieberman on

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 twenty-eight ounce cans red beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Put a heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the fat renders and bacon begins to crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the ketchup, tomato puree, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix well.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the beans until well coated, cover, and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid and continue baking until sauce thickens and the beans begin to brown, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Chris said...

How cute are those plates? I totally want them!

And now you have me craving German potato salad - yum!

Zoe said...

I like those plates. Thanks for the info!

Sarah said...

How cool. Love this. (and now I neeeed some cookout side dishes to eat. now.)

A World in a PAN said...

Why German? I can tell you the French have also potato salad and it looks very much the same as yours!

Erin said...

I've made a "French style" potato salad, too, and American as well. The French, like the German, was with vinegar instead of American mayo, but I thought the French had a bit more crunch (red onion, capers, gerkins), while the German had a bit more bacon flavor. Similar, though, for sure!

Sujitha Kaliyappan said...

I just see some Natural palm leaf products @